March 17, 2006
OK, Kids, Here Are Your Assigned Tasks...No, Wait, on Second Thought, Just Do Whatever You Feel Like Doing...Wait, No, Let's Instead Decide Together What We're Going to Do
Silent film from the 40s that documents a sociological experiment in which three groups of school-aged boys are formed into clubs with adult leaders with three different leadership styles: authoritarian (where the adult bosses the kids around), laissez-faire (where the adult does next to nothing), and democratic (where the adult participates in the groups activities and encourages cooperation and group decision-making through discussion and consensus). As you might expect, the boys in the authoritarian group work efficiently but are very dependent upon the leader, abandon their assigned tasks when the leader is gone, and generally dont seem to be having much fun. The boys in the laissez-faire group engage in milling around and disorganized play, dont accomplish much, and seem bored. And the boys in the democratic group work hard, maintain a pleasant atmosphere, and continue productive work even when the leader is gone. Later, the leaders are changed, and each group changes its behavior in response, showing that its the style of the leader and not individual group idiosyncrasies that are causing the groups behaviors. Or so the films title cards tell usthe film is so poorly shot that often its hard to tell exactly whats going on at any given moment. Still, the film is a historically interesting portrayal of research into social psychology, and its message has some merit, though very few adults have taken it to heart. The kid-produced signs and artwork is great fun, too, and the names of their clubs, especially the Law and Order Club (which starts out with a laissez-faire leader) are suitably ironic.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.
May 15, 2005
Or, The Wonders of The Substitute Teacher
Weird little film, similar to Activity Group Therapy (which is the BOMB), This film, or as I like to call it, ESITSCOG, gives us several groups of kids and shows us how them emulate the adult leader of the group. This alone is a bit interesting, as it could show how important Father figures are in kid's lives, and how kids react to discipline.
In the 2nd half of the film, the adult leader is replaced by a complete opposite. EG, if the leader was meek, the next leader is authotarian, and vice versa. We then follow how the kids respond initially, then adapt to these changes. Quite interesting actually, if you can stand 40 minutes watching this, there's quite a lot of neat stuff going on here.